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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

 
"Returning Wealth To It's Rightful Owners"

by digby

Al Hunt just told Andrea Mitchell that Obama could have picked a "more formidable intellectual force" for the court but he threaded the political needle very well. When Andrea Mitchell went on to ask if the White House was holding a conference call later to reassure people about her intellectual abilities, Hunt said that she wasn't as bad as Alberto Gonzales.

Hunt is a villager of the highest order and his robotic drivel is the result of that nasty little gossip piece by Jeffrey Rosen in EventhelibrulNewRepublic. It is hard to over emphasize the damage that article did to Sotomayor's reputation; it's pretty clear that among the villagers she will always be seen as an undeserving affirmative action hire. And let's not pretend that the complaints about Sotomayor for being a "bully" and a "hothead" and dumb as a post don't have their roots in the usual places. A person with her exact professional background and reputation named Steven Myers would not be seen this way.

Limbaugh lays out the real right wing case in stark terms:

The fact that she uses empathy, the fact that she is a racist and a bigot is perfect because in Obama's world it's permitted to be a racist and bigot if you are a minority because you have been discriminated against since the founding of the country and it's about time that that was made right. And that's what all of this is about. That's what all of his administration and his presidency is about, returning the nation's wealth to its rightful owners.


I'm sure villagers like Al Hunt, who are so willing to believe that snide backstabbing about Sotomayor's intellect despite the clear evidence to the contrary, don't believe that they are on the same page as Limbaugh, but they are.

Limbaugh's "slave revolt" thesis plays nicely into the emphasis on the Ricci case, which greatly offends bobble heads like Pat Buchanan, Chris Matthews and Bill O'Reilly, who despite their vast wealth and celebrity, like to pretend that they are oppressed working class white guys. Indeed, the whole phony construct of the Village is based upon the idea that these people inhabit a small middle class town in 1950s Real America, which is under seige from rapid social changes that threatens their traditional values. What they are, however, is a decadent ruling elite who inhabit the most powerful capital on earth who are under seige from social progress which is allowing members of unrepresented groups to have a seat at the table. There are certain shared characteristics between the illusion and the reality, but the results are hardly similar.

Limbaugh, who spends hours each week railing against the unions which represent both the firefighters and the autoworkers, may be down to his last quarter billion, but the idea that he's got more in common with those firefighters than the black and Hispanic colleagues who are competing for the promotions is ludicrous. But it's the way the aristocrats have always put down the rebellion when the folks get a little bit too uppity -- they turn them on each other and set them to fighting over the scraps. Sometimes they use tribal loyalty, race or religion. Lately, it's this phony idea of "class" as a state of mind rather than an economic status.

As always, the working class white guys Limbaugh is enlisting in his posse are being duped. The enemy is the fellow who's telling them they should fight all the women and minorities who are coming to "return the country's wealth to its rightful owners" instead of looking to the old boys network that pays that same blowhard hundreds of millions of dollars to misdirect their legitimate anger away from the people who are bleeding the country dry.

Right wing populism always comes down to demagoguing on race, religion or some such which always ends up serving the wealthy interests very nicely. Complaining that a Latina judge is both a racist and an "affirmative action" hire for the court is an excellent phony symbol of the change that inspires the anger and insecurity so many people feel out there --- including the anger and insecurity of the villagers, who are feeling that the riff-raff are coming to town to trash the place --- and it's not their place.


Update: What Yglesias said.

And might I add, that the feeling among many women tracks the same way. Whenever a female gets into a position of power, a whole special language suddenly enters the conversation that usually includes words like "calculation," "bullying" and "temperament." And, of course, there's the usual "affirmative action" argument which holds that women and minorities have a really easy time making it in America these days at the expense of all those deserving white males. Therefore, the fact that they are still hugely under represented is validation that they are so stupid and inferior that they can't make it even when they get all the breaks.



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